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Who is Ronald Defeo?

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Quick Answer

Ronald Defeo is a convicted murderer; in 1974, he killed his parents and siblings as they slept, then confessed to the killings following a trial in 1975. Defeo's murders, though gruesome, gained fame through screen adaptations and written works, collectively called "The Amityville Horror: A True Story." Despite becoming a mass murderer, Defeo lived a surprisingly normal and comfortable life throughout his childhood and early adult years.

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Full Answer

Defeo was born in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. There, he lived in an upper-middle class neighborhood with his parents, Ronald and Louise, and his siblings. Defeo's father worked as a successful car salesman, and provided more than enough financial support for the family.

Despite living a comfortable lifestyle, Defeo suffered physical and emotional abuse from his parents and schoolmates. By the time he reached adolescence, it was clear to family, friends and classmates that Defeo had anger problems. His family sought counseling for the boy, but to no avail.

Rather than punishing their son, Defeo's parents provided him with gifts and luxury items in hopes that he would transform his behavior. Defeo only grew more aggressive, however, and engaged in serious crimes, including attempting to shoot his father during an argument. Defeo's anger reached its peak in 1974, when he shot all of his immediate family members. Despite crafting a story for authorities, investigators ultimately traced the murders back to the oldest Defeo child.

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